The story of the Arab-Israeli conflict, at least as I perceive it is as follows.
In biblical time, there were the Israelites. They believed they’re god’s chosen people and that god gave them the land of then-known as Canaan
, later to known as Israel, although modern-day Israel is much smaller than the original kingdom. We’ll get to that. They weren’t very tolerant regarding other religions and massacred everyone there.
But then, at 900BC~ the Israel kingdom was divided
(in a civil war due to tax increase) into two much smaller kingdoms – Israel (consisting of 10 tribes) and Judea (with only 2 tribes). The kingdom of Israel was annihilated by the Assyrians. The kingdom of of Judea was also conquered, but their elite was sent to exile, vowing to return and restore the kingdom of the house of King David. Later, these group (Judeans) became Jews. It’s worth mentioning that some Jews remained in Judea but they were under an occupation – First of the Assyrians and later by a few others
. The land of Judea eventually became obsolete after a failed revolt against the Roman empire and the province Iudaea became “Syria Palaestina” at 130AD. The jewish temple was also destroyed. Much later this land was conquered the Turkish empire and by 1916 Britain claimed a mandate on it. But as the 1800s was the spring of the nation-states
, the scattered jews now saw themselves as a nation and claimed they are entitled for a state as well. For the support of jewish settlement in Palestine region, during WW1, the British empire promised Jews to have the “national-home” in Palestine. This, and WW2 caused a surge of Jewish immigrants to Palestine, creating many conflicts between them, the arabs and the ruling Brits. Eventually the UN has voted that two states will be founded in the region: Jewish Israel and Arab Palestine.
Now, it’s important to point out that there was no Palestinian identity. The arabs actually wished to have a “caliphate
” (a theological empire). But the European colonialist
trifled that idea but place few Arab princes in power and eventually leaving separated.
So when the Israeli state was founded at 1948, all neighboring counties went to war
against it and tried to eliminate the new imposed threat, but they lost and Israel gained more land then originally offered. There was still no Palestine, though – Gaza belonged to Egypt and the West Bank belonged to Jordan. This is not to say, the territory wasn’t filled with arabs (who only later identified themselves as Palestinians). The war, however created a new reality for many of them who fled from the war and now couldn’t return to their home, as Israeli refused their right of return
claiming it would disrupt the Jewish nature of Israel. The world however decided that unlike any other refugees in the world that were assimilated at their asylum countries, the arabs refugees will be taken care of by a special UN agency – UNRWA
(that’s still active) until their temporary situation will be resolved, leaving them in dire state of refugee camps for the past 70 years. Other Arabs, however, that never fled their homes became fully equal citizens of Israel. That is, at least on paper. As underlying racism exists and heavily felt. The Israeli-arabs
are roughly 20% of Israel’s population. As they most often don’t get building permits, they simply build their homes illegally, and with a few exception of sub-cultures (such as Bedouin
), Israeli-arabs normally don’t serve the army.
In 1967, Israel went to war
against its neighbors as a counter-strike measurement and ended up conquering Gaza and Sinai, the West bank and Jerusalem and the Golan heights (that were luckily mostly empty). The temple mount was recovered, only to find the dome of the rock
(a place sacred for the Muslims) at it’s place. Today, religious jews pray the west wall, which was the outer wall of the temple and today is its only remaining. The now occupied Gaza and the West bank, however, were filled with Arabs, many of them in refugee camps, after fleeing their home 19 years earlier.
These Arabs now formed their own identity. They didn’t see themselves as Egyptians or Jordanians any more, rather an new independent nation – the Palestinians.
In 1978, Israel signed a peace treaty with Egypt and gave it the Sinai peninsula back. But the Egyptians didn’t want the now Gaza Strip
and it remained under Israeli occupation. Israel left the the gaza strip in 2005
, destroying all settlements there and left it in the hands of the Fatah
, only to be usurped by the extremist Hamas
In 1991, Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel, mainly to get support from USA (now that USSR had vaporized). a peace treaty was to soon follow, but the Israeli prime minister was assassinated by extreme-right man and his successors failed to proceed with the process.
Although the forced transfer
of populations is considered a war-crime, Israel has turned a blind eye toward right-wing (mostly religious) Israelis’ initiative to built (illegal) settlements in the occupied territories and cooperated with them by providing infrastructures to once-built settlement and providing army protection. Israel initially believed that these settlements will help when a peace accord will take place but these grew out of control and turn the tore the Palestinian territory to many small non-sequential pieces.
Today, the Palestinian run their own civilian regime but Israeli military is still present and affects their lives greatly. It is somewhat justified as it still affectively prevent Palestinian terror attacks on Israel.
Act of terrors are very common in the middle east since whenever. Either in militias or army raids, bombs in civilians centers or road-blockage and imprisonments. In 1948, the Arabs tried to annihilate the state of Israel completely, but after 1967 and the realization of their defeat, the majority of them changed their hope to live in peace alongside Israel independently. It’s a problematic aspiration as they can “behave” with their oppressors, but Israel would rather keep its vantage point, or they can retaliate, which will only cause Israel to retaliate in return.
So now we face with 4 options for the future
– Two independent states – which is unfortunately unlikely – due the illegal settlements, the hatred and the mistrust among the people.
– One liberal state, which means the end of the jewish state – unacceptable by most Jews.
– One jewish state, which means apartheid and its worldly consequences on Israel
– Leave things as they are, which is incredibly bad for the Palestinians and just as good for the Israeli, and sadly is being widely supported by anyone who think things will resolve on their own.
The middle east conflict is extremely loaded and it’s literally impossible to be objective about it. It’s worth listening to different sides
, and notice how the narrative and how explaining what the other side thinks, can completely portray a different picture
. Of course, it’s much easier to fight an enemy who reject your right to exists, and that’s the sides keep telling themselves.